[Clarification: Although Greg Gachassin owned Amazing Storage in 2008 when the EPA violations occurred, he is no longer the owner of that company. In October of 2011 Amazing Storage was purchased by Chris and Diane Ortego. Amazing Storage has had no relationship or financial connection to Gachassin since that time.]
It turns out that it's not just state ethics charges Lafayette real estate developer Greg Gachassin has been dogged by lately.
Earlier this year, Gachassin settled with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, shelling out $60,000 to settle a Clean Water Act violation at his Fountain View residential subdivision, part of a 34-acre development off Kaliste Saloom Road originally permitted as New Center Park. It certainly could have been much worse for his pocketbook, as he was also cited for Clean Water Act violations at Wingate by Wyndham, the hotel he developed in front of the subdivision, and for the adjoining construction site called Amazing Storage. The violations date back to 2008.
The EPA fined Lafayette developer Greg Gachassin $60,000 for not having a plan to manage rain water runoff during construction of Fountain View, a 17-acre residential development behind his Wingate by
EPA records obtained by IND Monthly indicate that Gachassin’s company, The Lauren Group, did not have a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan while he was developing the subdivision (in simple terms, a plan for managing rain runoff during construction), didn’t implement a plan and failed to perform required site inspections. “We contacted you at the time of the inspection, but you declined to accompany the inspectors onsite,” writes John Blevins, director of the EPA’s Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division, in a July 18, 2008, letter to Gachassin.
In July of last year, EPA Public Affairs Specialist Carmen Assunto told IND Monthly that the statutory maximum penalty was $16,000 per violation per day. At the time no fines had been paid, Assunto said, and the EPA was still in negotiations with Gachassin.
Assunto said EPA conducted an inspection of the construction project on May 20, 2008, and observed unauthorized (unpermitted) discharges of pollutants from the site to a coulee that emptied into an impaired waterway (a body of water that does not meet the water quality standards of the Clean Water Act and the state.) “During the construction, there were other violations documented by the city of Lafayette that were independent of EPA’s inspection,” she said.
One would think that this developer, who is making millions as a development consultant on taxpayer funded projects in the Lafayette area, would know better.
Gachassin did not immediately return a phone call left at his office this morning.
Assunto noted that the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality had conducted an inspection on July 29, 2010, and found the site to be in compliance.